The purpose of this page is to explain the basis of our charges for probate work, so that you are fully aware, before you decide to instruct us, how your fees will be calculated.
It is a requirement of the Solicitors Regulation Authority in order that clients are provided with transparency on fees. Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything which you do not understand or would like us to clarify.
We tailor our service to meet our clients’ wishes and requirements. We can conduct the entire administration from beginning to end but are equally willing to limit our involvement to only part of the process such as preparing the inheritance tax account and obtaining the grant.
No two estates are ever the same, so the cost of administration will vary according to the scope of our involvement and the size and complexity of the estate, but the work is undertaken by a senior associate Deena Iqbal whose time is charged at £330 per hour plus VAT payable at 20% and a solicitor Michael Terry whose time is charged at £220 per hour plus VAT payable at 20%. We make no additional charge to reflect the value of the estate.
How much will it cost altogether?
The estimate of total cost which we provide below anticipates that we are required to handle the entire process and is based on the following assumptions:-
- There is a valid will
- All assets are in the UK
- Household and personal goods pass direct to the beneficiaries
- Inheritance tax threshold is limited to £325,000
- There were no lifetime gifts
- There are no trust interests
- There are no business assets
- There is no more than one residential property
- There is no agricultural property
- There are no more than 5 bank, building society or NS&I accounts
- There are no more than 5 shareholdings, life policies and/or investment bonds
- There are no more than 3 beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries
- There are no claims made against the estate
We would expect the administration of an estate of that kind to take anything between 25 and 80 hours work at a total estimated cost somewhere between £7,500 and £20,000 plus VAT.
The exact cost will always depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is no house and only one beneficiary, the costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there is a house, several bank accounts and investments and several beneficiaries, costs will be at the higher end.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that we may have to pay to third parties. They are additional to the fees estimated above and are likely to include:-
- Fees payable on swearing the executor’s oath: £7 for each executor plus £2 per codicil (if any)
- Court fee of £155 plus £0.50 for each copy of the grant required
- Advertising agency fees of about £175 + VAT for public notices to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
Potential additional costs
The fees estimated above do not cover work on any of the following which may be necessary:-
- House clearance and/or distribution of contents
- Investigation of availability of transfer of unused inheritance tax exemptions
- Sale of any residential or other property in the estate
- Any disputes which may arise in the course of the administration
- Dealing with any queries by HMRC arising from the inheritance tax account
- Tracing missing beneficiaries
How long will it all take?
On average, our work on estates that fall within the range described above is usually completed within 12 to 18 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes between 3 and 6 months. That is then followed by collecting the assets, settling liabilities and paying any cash legacies, which can take a further 3 to 6 months. An interim distribution to beneficiaries is often made within 6 months of obtaining probate and others may be made from time to time as the administration proceeds, but tax clearances need to be obtained and in some cases statutory time limits for possible inheritance claims need to be allowed to expire before we can distribute the remaining assets.